Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: Curivari Buenaventura BV 600

16 Sep 2018

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Cigars in the Buenaventura line from Curivari have gotten multiple high marks from StogieGuys.com, including the BV 550 (pictured). This big stick—a lightly box-pressed gordo (6 x 60) Nicaraguan puro—is another one well worth checking out. It’s a bargain smoke. I paid a little over $6 for a single, and you’ll find them online for close to $5 each by the box of ten. It is medium in strength with a smooth combination of a little spice, a little cedar, and a little pepper. I’d say the BV 600 is an ideal candidate for that second cigar to get you through the final half of a football game.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Aging Room Small Batch M356ii Rondo

10 Sep 2018

The original version of this cigar, the M356, helped put Boutique Blends’ Aging Room on the map when it received rave reviews and stellar ratings.

But the company’s approach of seeking out fine tobaccos regardless of the amount available and rolling cigars until the inventory is exhausted would have meant the end of the line—literally. Popularity, however, led to innovation, and the company worked to replicate the initial blend as closely as possible.

To avoid any misconception, though, they added “ii” to the designation so buyers would know it was not identical to the original. (The original version was rated No. 16 on Cigar Aficionado’s 2011 Top 25, while the new edition came in at No. 14 on the 2016 list.)

The M356ii is available in six sizes, ranging from a big Major (6.5 x 60) to the small Paco (4.5 x 48). It features a Habano wrapper and Dominican binder and filler. Prices range from about $8.25 to about $10.50.

I’ve been smoking through a box of the robustos, called Rondo (5 x 50), in keeping with company co-founder Rafael Nodal’s fondness for using musical nomenclature. For me, two things stand out from the original line.

One is the burn. I experienced some burn issues when I was smoking the M356 Mezzo back in 2012. Nothing horrendous, just enough to mildly mar the experience. With the M356ii, every one I’ve smoked so far has had a near-perfect burn: straight and slow.

Other performance characteristics, including smoke production, draw and holding the ash, have also been first-rate.

The second difference, for me, in the two cigar lines is that the M356ii doesn’t have quite the spice I found in the original. While it is a most tasty cigar, it simply doesn’t reach the level of what I said back then was “akin to lighting up a spice rack … exotic tastes that light briefly on your tongue.”

Not that there is no spice, certainly. It’s simply not as pronounced. I did find other flavors I remember from the original, such as sweet caramel, a little coffee, and hardwood.

I applaud Boutique Blends for being upfront in its labeling to indicate that the cigar has changed, if only a bit. Those adjustments have enabled an excellent cigar to stay on the market and to be enjoyed by more smokers.

Whether you’re one of those who loved the original or someone who never had the opportunity to smoke it, I urge you to give the M356ii a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I rate it four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: G.A.R. Opium S.T.K. Toro

7 Sep 2018

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

A Nicaraguan puro from George Rico’s Gran Habano, Opium makes a strong first impression. The brown hybrid Habano/Corojo wrapper is smooth and the gold-laced triple banding shines. The first few puffs, though, are a bit harsh, leading me to wonder what will happen as I smoke down the 6-inch, 52-ring gauge frame. Happily, the harshness abates fairly quickly, and sweet spices, wood, and leather emerge. The second half is the most enjoyable, as the cigar becomes more balanced with strength at the medium level. Available at about $7 for a single stick.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Partagas Legend Toro Leyenda

5 Sep 2018

The latest Partagas line extension takes its name, Legend, from the notable men associated with the brand, from its Cuban founding in 1845 to the current versions from General Cigar.

Introduced at the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Legend features a three-country blend: Dominican Piloto Cubano filler, Honduran Olancho San Agustin binder, and Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.

The medium-strength cigar has a light finish, which is somewhat surprising given its thick, smoky mouthfeel. There’s a little spice, but more predominant are flavors of leather, earthiness, and coffee.

I smoked several and found the performance generally good. One had a bit of a tight draw, which opened up a third of the way down. All produced a lot of smoke, burned slowly and evenly, and held a tight, white ash.

Legend is box-pressed and offered in three sizes: Corona Extra Leyenda (5.25 x 44, $11.49); Fabuloso Leyenda (6.5 x 48, $12.49); and Toro Leyenda (6.25 x 54, $14.49).

The ornate white band is set off by the oily, dark wrapper and has little of the traditional Partagas look. The boxes of 20 are also white.

Over the years, StogieGuys.com has reviewed a lot of General’s Partagas cigars. Nine,  in fact. Many received high ratings.

Now, some smokers have an almost visceral negative reaction to a non-Cuban cigar that bears the name of those still being produced in Cuba. They see it as a crass effort at exploitation.

Others, especially those whose companies were nationalized after the revolution and who fled the island, say the trademarks belong to the owners. They believe the Cuban versions are unlawful expropriations. One of those men was Ramón Cifuentes, who owned the Partagas brand when Fidel Castro seized power.

Perhaps all this will be sorted out if and when the U.S. embargo on Cuba ends. In the meantime, I’m not sure it’s fair to judge a cigar by its name. I prefer to take cigars as I find them and try to evaluate without considering baggage.

In this case, I found the Legend to be another fine Partagas addition and give it three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo 22 30 Years

24 Aug 2018

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Visually, this limited edition cigar is stunning: Two predominantly white bands set off the figurado’s honey-brown wrapper, and each canister of 19 is individually tagged. Said to be a revival of the 2002 cigar that was Avo Uvezian’s personal blend, the release is part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the brand’s founding. This cigar features a sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper, Dominican binder, and four Dominican fillers. The result is a complex, medium-strength experience that builds in intensity along its 5.875 inches. Though it took a few puffs for the draw to fully open as it burned from the small foot to the 50-ring gauge, performance was excellent in all respects. A terrific cigar for $15.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Davidoff 702 Series Aniversario Special R Robusto

17 Aug 2018

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

This Davidoff line was introduced last year to employ a special hybrid Ecuadorian wrapper (the 702 in the name) to create a more intense cigar. It’s obviously much darker than the regular Aniversario Special R line and, from the first puff, it’s stronger. The Special R Robusto (4.9 x 50) starts a bit harsh, but that levels out quickly. As it moves along, you’ll find some of the typical Davidoff mushroom flavor, but others such as wood and nuts move to the fore. Performance is nearly perfect. At $21.40, this is obviously is an expensive cigar. If you’re not a Davidoff fan, you might not enjoy it. But for those of us who are, this is a cigar certainly worth trying.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Davidoff

Quick Smoke: Avo Heritage Toro Tubo

10 Aug 2018

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Introduced last year, this Avo Heritage vitola can be tough to find. It doesn’t seem to appear on the brand’s website, and a lot of shops don’t have it in their inventory. That’s a shame. It is a terrific cigar, and a near-prefect example of what Avo set out to accomplish with the Heritage line: a stronger smoke that retained the best of Avo. With a sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler tobaccos, it begins with familiar notes of grass, mushrooms, and a hint of spice. Along the 6-inch, 50-ring gauge frame those flavors wax and wane as they interact with sweetness, a little chocolate, and some pepper. I found it stronger and bolder than other Heritage sizes I’ve smoked, but Davidoff assured me the blend is the same. At $10, the Heritage Toro Tubo is a bargain.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys